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Old 01-31-2008, 11:22 PM   #1
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food for my body?
Hey everyone, as i have ventured out into the world and started living on my own, it has present many learning opportunities in that i am in complete control of my life. I have become way more green then i used to be, and feel good about it. I do however, lack in the eating/nutrition department. I am confused by all the different "fads" out there, and everyone contradicts everyone else on whats best for the body what isn't. I try to eat healthy, that is difficult however because i am a veggie hater :/ I am struggling to get past the taste of many vegetables, mostly green ones like broccoli, peas, green beans etc. But other than that, i want to learn how to eliminate over processed foods from my diet, so to get to the point, what have others found that works for them? Any books you would recommend? What do you do to give your body the best treatment it deserves?
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Old 01-31-2008, 11:54 PM   #2
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How do you feel about V8 or vegetable juice? Though it doesn't have fiber in it, it does have a lot of nutrition. And the store brands are just as good as V8 at half the price. Learn to lightly steam veggies so they're just crunchy, you may like the tast that way.
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Old 02-01-2008, 12:03 AM   #3
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One way to cut out a lot of processed foods is to STAY AWAY from the frozen food aisle. Those are the worst when it comes to overprocessing. Instead most of the good stuff is on the perimeter of the grocery aisles, dairy section, meat section, and produce. O yeah and sometimes the bread section. But basically those are the only aisles you need.
Ya don't have to buy into any of this fad crap. One thing has stood the test of time. The 4 basic food groups. And a Balanced Diet.
You're going to have to cook a lot of stuff from scratch. But there are great recipes on chef2chef
Plus the forum is a wonderful resource for all your questions.
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Old 02-01-2008, 12:14 AM   #4
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I agree with staying away from many of the frozen foods (never mind my almost unnatural love for ice cream) except that the plain frozen vegetables are good. For those of us living in the middle where fresh fruit and veggie season is somewhat limited, these are a great alternative. I wouldn't buy any that come with the cheese or whatever already added to them. (never mind how much it offends me when people mess with my i like them best just as God intended them to be!! ) Even if you want to add cheese or whatever to the veggies it is always going to be better if you do that yourself rather than letting manufacturers do it for you.

One thing to really look at is the ingredients labels. Looking at chicken you should see the only ingredient as chicken. Same with the others. To be sure these things will be more expensive, but it is a WAY better alternative than eating the food that "they" decide is acceptable for us, which is full of additives. Learn what word they use to disguise sugar too. That is a HUGE one.
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Old 02-01-2008, 12:19 AM   #5
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First of all, congratulations on recognizing something that most people...especially adults...really ignore -- the need to eat healthy, ignoring fad diets.

I highly recommend the following book: The Maker's Diet, by Jordan Rubin. It gives a great explanation of how various foods affect your body. Another book I would highly recommend is Forget the Die-Its, by Karen Knox. She divides her book into twelve chapters, with each chapter intended to help you make one change per month.

That said, there are some practical things you can do. Shop the perimeter of the store. That's where the healthy stuff is. If you think about it, the fruits, cheeses, and meats are all located on the perimeter. The processed foods reside in the center aisles.

Drink a lot of water...replacing juices and sodas. As you start eliminating unhealthy products from your diet, your taste buds will awaken, and you'll discover veggies you like.

I am a firm believer in juicing. I know this will sound gross, but carrot juice is fabulous. I juice about one pound of carrots with an apple or slice of cantaloupe and some spinach. Oh my goodness. It's so sweet. That's what carrots taste like...not the cooked mushy stuff you think of. Drink eight ounces at a time, and your body will love you. My kids have been drinking fresh juices since they were in elementary school, and they've liked it.

Stay away from bottled juices. They are pasteurized, which means they are heated (to preserve them longer) to the point where the valuable vitamins are killed. Freshly squeezed/juiced fruits and veggies provide live enzymes and vitamins, which is what your body needs to thrive.

One other thing...stay away from caffeine and artificial sweeteners. Those are my biggest rules with my children. You would not believe how many different names artificial sweeteners go by, and they are in everything -- even chewing gum and toothpaste! I would rather have the sugar than the affects of those other things.

Keep in mind that eating healthy requires a lifestyle change...not something temporary. With that in mind, slowly incorporate changes so they will become permanent.

I hope I haven't overwhelmed you. Take it slowly and start reading. The books I mentioned are easy reads and simply fascinating. You'll find them hard to put down.

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Old 02-01-2008, 10:12 AM   #6
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All of the above advice is good. Learn to like veggies, they really are very good for you. Your body really doesn't need a lot of meat protein, a good mix of veggies contain most of what your body needs.

Choose brown rice over white rice. White rice actually contains very little in the way of nutrients. Brown rice is very healthy for you.

Don't forget fresh fruits.

Read labels. Try to avoid artificial ingredients as much as possible.

For most people with average activity levels, about 2,000 calories a day is plenty.

You should eat at least three meals a day to keep your blood sugar levels and metabolism on an even keel. 5 to 6 is even better. The key is not eating too much at a time. Our bodies need much less food than many of us believe it does and eating several small meals through the day will keep you from feeling too hungry and over-eating.

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Old 02-01-2008, 10:32 AM   #7
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I agree with everything that was said. I would add: experiment, eat a variety of things and find things that you like! It will make your life a lot easier if you actually enjoy eating things that are good for you.
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Old 02-01-2008, 10:53 AM   #8
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Its all very true. And I really would like to point out that you really don't need to eat a ton of food.

At times in the past, and I'll be honest I haven't done this in awhile, I felt great when I made fasting a part of my life.

For me there were several reasons for doing this.

Mainly I did fasting with just water. Sometimes I would allow myself a small bowl of soup at supper time. Running around after toddlers does sometimes leave your feeling the need for something at the end of the day.

I would say I did about 1 day out of 14 days. Occasionally I did fast once a week.

I'm not sure where you are, but in Ontario we are able to call and speak to a Dietitian for free. You might be allowed to do something like that too. This will help give you peace of mind.

Otherwise, check out books like Deceptively Delicious. It shows you how to slip vegetables into your diet. I think sometimes its the initial thought that you have to conquer. Once you know that you're already eating and enjoying vegetables the battle is more than half finished!
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Old 02-01-2008, 11:59 AM   #9
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I don't know how you're preparing your vegetables, but I have to say I don't particularly care for most cooked vegetables. A few roasted things I like or maybe a light steam, but otherwise "ehh..".

However, I LOVE tons of veggies totally raw. And I pick up something I've never tried before every couple of trips to the grocery store. Good luck!

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Old 02-01-2008, 02:21 PM   #10
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There are different ways of cooking vegetables to make them palatable. Roasting is a favorite around here, sauteeing in some butter is the other main way I make veggies. I don't steam anything... I'm not terribly fond of steamed veggies. Cauliflower is great mashed with some cream cheese, we use this as a mashed potato substitute, it's much healthier for you. But honestly if you don't like cooked veggies, there's nothing saying you have to cook them... if you like raw carrots, celery dipped in peanut butter, bell peppers with ranch (make your own), etc... there's nothing that says you can't stick to those things. A nice green salad with everything on it, sauteed mushrooms and onions served over your meat, meatballs cooked with tomato sauce. Start with what you do like and slowly try other things. It took me years and dozens of recipes to finally like brussel sprouts (but I only like them cooked one way).

Buy produce in season if at all possible. At this time of year (assuming you're in the northern hemisphere) that means apples, pears, citrus, mushrooms, peas, anything in the cabbage family (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts), potato, sweet potato, hard squash, onion, lettuce, carrots, beets, etc. If you can't find decent in-season produce, and need to buy something that is out of season (like corn in the middle of winter), buy frozen first, canned next, and fresh only as a last resort.

Read labels of anything that has one. Remove hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup (also called glucose-fructose syrup), MSG and artificial sweeteners from your diet completely. Those 4 things will remove most processed foods from your diet. Avoid sugar as much as possible, use unrefined sugar (rapadura or sucanat), honey or maple syrup in your cooking if need be.

Avoid refined grains (white flour, white rice, etc.), and do some research on the proper way to prepare grains, since most people have difficulty digesting them. Don't rely on grains as the base of your diet "pyramid"... I know that the gov't has been telling us for years that we should be eating 8-12 servings a day, but that's completely unrealistic (and that's our politics at work). The majority of your diet should be fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, etc. That's where you'll get the most nutrition. Grains don't have nearly the nutrition profile that other edible plant matter has. You can comfortably live without grains in your life. But if you remove fruits and vegetables from your life, you'll get sick.

Don't underestimate the importance of quality. 1/2 a pound of grassfed beef has a better nutrition profile than a pound of feedlot beef. It is more expensive of course, but it is much better for you. A locally grown vegetable/fruit that was picked ripe yesterday will have more nutrition than the same item that was picked green halfway around the world and has been in transit for 5 days before it even got to the grocery store (not to even mention the difference in petro-chemical costs). Cured meats should be a last resort, not a first, as the chemicals used to keep them "fresh" are not nice to your body.

Another thing to watch out for is the over-reliance on soy products. Unfermented processed soy is not healthy, yet most people eat it half a dozen times a day. Again, read labels. Most mayonnaise that is not labeled Canola (another bad oil), is made with soy. Your "vegetable oil" is soy. Lecithin, Isoflavins and at least a dozen other ingredients are all soy.

Do some research on the importance of healthy oils, and avoid soy and canola oils. Coconut oil and olive oil are two of the best for you... if you can't afford those, go for sunflower, peanut or even corn (corn is not ideal but better than soy). I use walnut oil and safflower oil (also not ideal but better than soy) in addition to coconut oil and olive. I also keep animal fats on hand (lard, tallow, grease, etc.) that I render myself. All of those options are better for you than soy or canola oil.

You can find all sorts of information online... a great place to start is MDC's Nutrition Boards.

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